In many aspects of life, with simplification comes less excess. The same is true for the body. In a world obsessed with abundance and the availability of every imaginable foodstuff 365 days a year, food combining helps us simplify our food choices. The basic rule of thumb is: The simpler the meal, the easier digestion will be. Simple meals, moderate portions, and chewing food slowly and with an attitude of reverence all help maintain easy digestion and free-flowing energy in the body. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of food combining with these simple guidelines:
Fruits are the easiest and fastest foods to digest, and for that reason should always be eaten separately from proteins, grains, and vegetables. They are further classified into acid, subacid, sweet, and melons—based on their levels of acid and sugar—and have their own set of guidelines for combinations. Digestion time: 20 minutes to one hour.
All vegetables can be combined with one another as well as with proteins. For optimal digestive ease, it’s best to combine only nonstarchy and low-starch vegetables with grains. Digestiontime: 30 minutes to two hours.
Grains can be eaten alone or combined with nonstarchy and low-starch vegetables. Do not combine grains with protein or with starchy vegetables. It’s best to have only one type of grain at a meal, so decide if you really want that hunk of bread or if it’s worth waiting for the rice. Digestion time: two to three hours.
Proteins can be eaten alone or combined with nonstarchy, low-starch, and starchy vegetables. It’s best to have only one type of protein at a meal. Digestion time: two to four hours.
When selecting what to eat, consider not only the culinary appeal of your choices but how your body will interpret the foods you are about to ingest. Ask yourself: Will these foods fuel my body so it can be a strong vehicle for my spirit, or will they slow me down? Feeding yourself purposefully is like doing yoga off the mat: Each choice of what and how to feed yourself is an opportunity to practice awareness, compassion, and self-love.